McGill strengthens longstanding relationship with RIKEN

McGill, Fonds de Recherche du Québec, and RIKEN, sign agreement to bolster research partnership
Front row (l to r): Dr. Rémi Quirion, Hiroshi Matsumoto and Martha Crago. Back row (l to r): Dr. Ichiro Taniuchi,  Professor Mark Lathrop, Motoko Kotani, Tadashi Yamamoto, Atsushi Kogirima.

McGill and the RIKEN Institute, Japan’s largest research institution, have signed a joint declaration of intent to conduct integrated research projects, backed by a five-year funding commitment from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ). The FRQ has committed to supporting the program with $200,000 in funding per year for five years. Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, represented McGill at the signing ceremony last week in Japan. Fellow signatories included Dr. Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec, representing the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, and Hiroshi Matsumoto, President of Riken.

“McGill is deeply committed to the goal of creating groundbreaking international science,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “This agreement will provide an institutional and structural framework for joint research, permitting Québec’s and Japan’s investigators to engage in research and pursue further funding for ambitious collaborative projects with significant impact on the health people around the world. Equally as important, it will train the next generations of scientific talent.”

Under the terms of the  joint declaration, McGill and RIKEN agree to support and promote research and training in medical genomics and immunology, and to contribute actively to the development and stimulation of scientific collaboration by facilitating and encouraging international interactions, exchanges and mobility of researchers and trainees.

Established partnership  

McGill has a long-standing relationship with RIKEN, having first signed a memorandum of understanding in 2004 for research collaborations in the field of developmental biology, followed by a series of delegations to and from Japan to share research findings in science, engineering, neuroscience and green chemistry. In 2010, RIKEN and McGill again signed an MOU, followed by workshops among scientists.

In November 2017, the institutional collaboration was further strengthened through a new joint graduate school initiative, the “International Program Associate”. The program will enable RIKEN’s investigators to have adjunct professorial appointments at McGill and to supervise McGill PhD students in their laboratories in Japan for up to three years.

Also in 2017, RIKEN and McGill joined forces again at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) and the McGill Faculty of Medicine (FoM), with the goals of answering major scientific and public health questions arising from recent advances in genomic medicine, immunology and cancer.  Researchers at the IMS center have complementary expertise to that of researchers in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, making the combined strengths even more powerful.

The second RIKEN-McGill Symposium on Immunology, Cancer, RNA & Genetics was held in February 2018, at the RIKEN Yokohama Campus.